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Friday, June 16, 2006

Melissa Combats the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

The Herpes Simplex virus (or HSV) is a difficult disease. It is widely known as incurable, with painful skin lesions on sensitive areas of the body. The lesions reccur more often for some people than others - their 'outbreaks' tend to be related to periods of high-stress. Modern medicine does not offer a cure, though there are pharmaceutical preparations available to limit the frequency and duration of HSV outbreaks. With a reputation as 'incurable', 'painful', 'not-so-pretty', and varieties described as 'oral and labial' or 'genital', the disease can be a little challenging and embarrasing to say the least.

Well, I've been through this. I've had the painful lesions, had to deal with the regular outbreaks of painful cold-sores in my mouth and on my lips (I was blessed with the 'oral' variety). I've been through those great internal debates on how to break the news to a partner (thankfully always returning that look that says something like 'Oh! I thought you were going to tell me my cat just died...that's no big deal'). Though it still seemed like a big deal. Regularly having those few days of feeling like a flu was coming on, followed by a few days of outbreak - at what always seemed like the worst of times. On top of it, being an athlete, training really hard tended to cause outbreaks as well - weightlifting in particular. Maybe it was just really strenuous, or maybe I wasn't actually a 'weightlifter' - but that heavy lifting would almost always lead, once again, to an outbreak.

Would I have to go through this forever? Would I always be taking prescription drugs to keep the virus at bay? I tried some natural routes; Lysine - an amino acid - seemed to help, but not all the time, and not unless I took it (and a LOT of it) before the outbreaks would occur. I used significant amounts of lip balm, as sun overexposure would again bring it on. I have a lot of years left! Will this always be a factor in my life?

Then it so happened I got involved in essential oils - the powerful aromatic compounds distilled in small amounts from plants. You've probably heard of them - Lavender oil, Sandalwood, Frankincense, etc. They're getting to be fairly common these days. And then one day I stumbled onto research being performed with a particularly rare essential oil called 'Melissa' or 'Lemon Balm'. Melissa is steam distilled from the leaves of the Melissa herb - and in very small quanitities. The plant yields a small amount of oil relative to all the other aromatic plant species out there. Research has been being performed in Europe for several years applying Melissa oil to herpes outbreaks, with very interesting results. In fact, one German pharmaceutical company extracted the 'active' component of the oil and sold it in a prescription preparation for use by herpes 'sufferers'.

The most encouraging statement regarding the use of Melissa on herpes was made by Dr. Dietrich Wabner, a professor at the University of Munich: he stated that a single application of Melissa may lead to a complete remission of the disease. A possible cure! I'd figured I had nothing to lose, so I tried a little bottle of the oil.

Further research gave me a better idea of a protocol; direct application of the essential oil may not lead to a complete remission in one application - though healers were finding success with the oil's regular use through the course of several outbreaks. One drop of Melissa directly applied a few times a day throughout the outbreak, and for the next several times an outbreak was surfacing, might lead to remission of the disease. The regemine was to begin as soon as one felt an outbreak coming on - some folks get an odd sensation at the location where the lesion may occur, and many will feel a general malaise. My outbreaks tended to occur on my tongue at that point - I would get the flu/fatigued feeling, then a few tasted buds would swell and sting, with the occasional cold sore showing itself (and yes, this had been medically confirmed as HSV early on when the sored almost completely covered the roof of my mouth). So I started on the Melissa, placing just one drop in my mouth and 'swishing' it around a few times a day. It's a powerful oil, but I actually liked the taste...

Well, I wasn't one of the fortunate one's with a complete remission on the first try. But it did help - the outbreaks were shorter, and then seemed to occur less frequently. THEN something WONDERFUL happened - the outbreaks stopped all together. And believe me, my life has been no less stressful - more so if anything. But no matter how hard my days were, how heavy my weight training sessions or other athletic endeavors, the outbreaks have not returned! No more unexplained low-level flu symptoms or sore spots in or on my mouth. I can't remember the last time this happened, and don't even keep the bottle around anymore just in case - though I do recommend it to those in a similar position.

Now to those who may have more sensitive skin than I, Melissa can be diluted in a carrier oil (like Hazelnut or Rosehip Seed oil) down to 10% or less of the total concentration and still be just as effective - taking any essential oil orally, and undiluted certainly, should be done with caution - pay attention to your own reaction and proceed accordingly. I haven't any experience with the 'genital' variety of the virus, but I it should work just as well - though this is where the carrier oil might feel a little nicer. But whatever way it's used, the protocol should be followed as closely as possible: apply the oil a few times a day to the affected area as soon as you feel an outbreak coming on, and stick with it until the lesions have healed. Then do it again the next several times an outbreak is surfacing. There are no guarantees, but I do hope this wonderful natural medicine can provide the same relief for others as it has for me.

For sufferer's of Shingles, another Herpes virus variety causing lesions of the skin, Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica, or 'True' Ravensara) oil has been used. Individuals have found relief using Ravensara in a 50-50 blend with Tamanu Nut oil. The Tamanu Nut sooths the skin during the healing process and keeps the Ravensara in contact with the sores. I have not heard of this offering a complete cure, but I have heard of this blend really helping relieve discomfort of this condition.

If you decide to try these natural methods, when buying essential oils, buy from a trusted source - Melissa oil particularly has been adulterated due to it's high cost. The 'fake' mixture - a blend of Lemongrass and other essential oils oils - do not contain the same antiviral components. True Melissa is typically found in the range of $10 - $20 per milliliter, with organic varieties costing a little more. There are nearly twenty-five drops in one milliliter, and because only one drop is typically used for each application, a few milliliters (1/4 to 1/8th ounce) can go a long way. If you try this natural healing oil, or to recommend it to those in need, I wish the best of success!


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